Sunday

21st Jan 2018

Hungary boosts border control, holds army exercise

  • Desperate migrants trying to escape a collection point with appaling conditions for asylum-seekers in Roszke, Hungary (Photo: Daniel Belenyi)

Hundreds of migrants broke through police lines in Hungary near the Serbian border in Roszke on Wednesday (9 September), as the army started mobilising for guarding the frontier.

For a third day in a row, desperate migrants tried to flee from a so-called collection point, a makeshift open-air camp for people waiting to be registered at a nearby center that cannot cope with the influx of asylum-seekers.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Wednesday saw a record number of 3,321 migrants caught by police at the Hungarian-Serbian border. Thousands more are expected over the weekend.

The escape attempt involved some 400 migrants, who shouted: "No camp!", AFP reported.

Preparing for a possible role in border control, the army on Wednesday launched an exercise called "Decisive Action", pending a vote in parliament later in September.

"It is our job to make sure Hungary is defended," General Tibor Benko told a news programme on the M1 channel.

Hungary recently completed the construction of a razor-wire barrier along its 175-kilometre frontier with Serbia, but the fence has failed to prevent large numbers of people getting through. It is building an additional, four-metre-high fence.

Legal limbo

Hungary’s justice minister insisted on Wednesday that Hungary’s new anti-migration laws, entering into force on 15 September, which will criminalise illegal border crossings, are not violating the UN Convention on Refugees.

Parliament adopted legislation recently that creates transit zones along the border with Serbia that minister Laszlo Trocsanyi said would be "similar to an airport transit zone".

"While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state," he said, according to Reuters.

Asylum-seekers will be held in these zones, with their requests fast-tracked.

Human rights group say this will create a legal limbo, and serves to dump migrants back into Serbia.

Hungary in July declared its southern neighbor a "safe third country", making it possible to deport all asylum-seekers entering through Serbia.

Vincent Cochetel, the Regional Refugee Coordinator for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), told a news conference on Tuesday: "We do not like the idea of [a] transit zone, if transit zone means that the Hungarian legislation and European standards do not apply there."

New laws coming into force on 15 September also mean that crossing the Hungarian border without legal papers will be considered a crime, resulting in deportation or even jail sentence.

"If a person can prove he was persecuted in Serbia, then it's not a crime," said Trocsanyi.

The UN refugee agency warned that according to the UN Refugee Convention, no one can be prosecuted for illegal entry if they are seeking asylum.

Liberal MEPs refuse to back down on Orban

Liberal MEPs will try to revive plans to stress-test Hungary’s democratic standards, after being voted down, including by socialists, on Monday.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia